How time flys, Nui has booked her flights, as she decided to go early, her mum, back in Chiang Mai, is not too well, so Nui will go back to her village and look after her.
I will stay here in the UK, do the packing and making the arrangements for the move. I will most likely move over to Chiang Mai around the beginning of the New year.
When I booked the flights for Nui, it was a realisation, a conformation that things are in motion, doing a physical thing, like booking the ticket and having a date, something that I can see, and know, that at a certain time, on a certain date, Nui will be flying off from the Uk, and I will not see her until I meet her at our house.
So come October, Nui will sign for the house and then the electric and water will be connected. We are very happy with the way the property manager Pop, (is his name) has helped us . When I bought the property, I explained to Pop that I will not be in the country for a year or so, he said it was ok, and it turned out it was near a year and a half before we would sign for the house.
When I bought our house, we were told that we will need to inform him 3 months before we sign for the property and that will give him time to change the grass, (which was looking a bit sad), as it will be replaced, as well as we minor marks on the walls etc these had been pointed out to him, which would be fixed, nothing major, just bits of paint etc. As the house is not connected to the water or electric grid, this will be done and a water tank will be added .
In Thailand the water pressure is not great, and can be quite poor in certain parts of the country. One of my friends, who has a big garden has two water sources, one of the suppliers , connected to the local village is only turned on for half the week, and on a certain day, I believe the Wednesday, the water is turned on for the other half of the village. So the second supplier covers the water for the rest of the week.
As the house is in a Moo Baan ( Moo Baan is Thai for village, but is also use for gated communities, which are enclosed with security at the entrance ) I had to pay for three years of maintenance at our Moo Baan, this payment is for the maintenance of the grass, roads and security etc. There will be a gym and swimming pool as well , that was in the process of being built, I saw the start of the building when I was last there, I hope its built when we settle in.
In one Moo Baan we looked at, while looking for our house. The representative said, if we bought the house, we would have to pay for three years maintenance, which was no problem, but then added that we also had to pay for the gym in advance as well and that this payment was obligatory. “Why” I said?
“I will be in England for a year or more, why should I pay for a gym membership if I am not here?”
So the conversation went back and forth, and they said I had to pay for it if I bought the house . When I asked further, I discovered that, if I paid for the membership, it would be for only two people. I pointed out that I am buying a three bedroom house so there will be more than two in the house, and that it should be more, but they said no only for two and any other people will have to pay extra.
They also explained, after some prodding I may add, that if we had any visitors, or even if we had a family consisting of more than two people, we would have to pay for more. Not to mention we had no option but to join the gym.
Well, we decided not to buy the house, not just for the compulsory gym membership, but that same attitude and theme was consistent with all there options. I found that this attitude toward buying houses was endemic of the whole buying process of several estate agencies / housing projects.
So I had no trust after that, as the more questions I asked, the more cost I discovered, the more the price increased, for more extras that were not extras. The price they quoted at the beginning, was not the finishing price, as there were lots of add on’s, well not necessarily “add” on’s, but more like “no choice” on’s.
On one occasion when we were looking at this wonderful house, it was only when we sat down and asked questions, we found out these add on’s. It was then, that I must admit I had to laugh, well, when I said laughed at, I had to laugh otherwise I would have ended up crying.
We this house, a detached 3 bedroom house, well within our price range, ( That was on a huge bill board and quoted when we arrived) so we popped in and asked to look at the house.
We asked about the price and we were told that that was the price. So reassured we looked around the large Moo Naan, all brand new builds and all looked great. We were driven to the house , asking about it and when we got out of the car, we loved the look, new, contemporary and a nice bit of land around the house. There were still a lot of houses being build around us, but that was to be expected. So a good start, I was starting to visualise us being there , as you do.
We went in the house and were shown around, spacious, clean and well built. I was walking around the rooms and I noticed that there were no power sockets and lights fitted, and that the kitchen was still to be completed. So, being curious, I asked when will the caskets and lights be finished, and was informed, that it was finished and the sockets would be completed when we had chosen the type of sockets and lights we wanted, that also included the kitchen, sink etc.
Lovely, I thought I can choose these items and personalise the house, wonderful.
So I asked her what were the choices we could pick from, she then slipped in that we would have to pay for those choices, pay for the power sockets and also the kitchen etc.
“Sorry” I said ” We have to pay extra for the sockets and lights?”
“Yes, it is” came her reply.
” I thought the price you mentioned was the price of the house” I replied in a confused tone.
“Yes, it is” she replied smiling.
So the conversation continued in this manner and I was very confused as to the price of the house.
We then got back to the office and sat down to talk figures. It turned out that the price I was quoted, nay, the price that was advertised, on a huge bill bored I would like to remind you, was not the price you would end up paying, taking into consideration the add on’s. These add on’s that were called extras, a kitchen, lights and plugs, !!!! extras.
Now, you had to pay extra for the following, lights, power sockets, kitchen and wardrobes. To add insult to injury, you also had to pay for the land that surrounded the house, you know, the piece of land you park your car, and walked from the road to the front of the house.
Now get this, the price that was quoted, only included the land that the house was on, not the small piece of land that surrounded the house, or the driveway, or the piece of land that was between the house and the wall that was called the garden and went to the wall.
Now, I asked the lady, ” I have to pay extra for the land surrounding the house? from the house wall to the garden wall?”
“Yes” she confirmed. still looking at me as if I was asking a very silly question.
After I asked a few other questions, I found that the strip of land surrounding the house was not included in the price, but it was an extra. Now, an extra in Thai obviously means something a bit different, than the extra in the UK.
My next question to the nice, still smiling, lady ” Can I buy the house without this land?”
No came the reply” still looking at this confused falang.
“So it’s not an option” I said with a tone in my voice that was showing frustration, “if I have no choice, and I have to buy this land, then it’s not an option”
Unfortunately this last statement went way above her head, So I tried to explain.
“If you buy a car, and you are told a price, then are told that the wheels of the car are extra? Then you had to buy the wheels at an extra cost. You can’t use the car with no wheels, so its not option. You can’t use the car without the wheels, can you?”
“No, so its not an option”
I managed to get my point across. The preverbal penny, or Baht, dropped.
I said not thanks, even thought I liked the house ( See the below pictures) and I explained that, as it had taken me so long just to find the hidden costs, I did not trust the prices they gave and would have no idea what the total price would be.
I explained that she should take that in mind when selling to Falangs, as the way we buy houses in the UK and the US was to give the total price for the property up front.
This was one of a few property developments we went to, that had the same way of selling houses, not a happy way of doing things in my opinion.
So when we found the Moo Baan I eventually bought my house in, I was very very happy that they had their price up front and no hidden extras.